SD-WAN and Hybrid Work

Experts anticipate that nearly half of employees will work remotely in some capacity in a post-pandemic world.

sd-wan and hybrid work This new setup requires business leaders and IT teams to think of new ways to support the modern workforce.

SD-WAN, short for software-defined wide area network, is one of the tools professionals are increasingly implementing.

While SD-WAN has been around for quite some time, it wasn’t until cloud services boomed – partially because of the pandemic, that it became more commonplace for businesses to implement it.


Traditionally, remote users access your network via VPN through your company’s firewall. SD-WAN, however, removes that step while increasing security and reducing the risk of people hacking and compromising your company’s sensitive data.

At The KR Group, we’ve helped our customers understand how SD-WAN can positively impact their organizations’ hybrid workforce, and these are some of the advantages we highlight:

  1. Compliance
  2. Security
  3. Removing other costs

These components make SD-WAN especially transformative for companies looking to move toward an IT environment that thoughtfully supports a hybrid and remote workforce.


SD-WAN Helps with Compliance

There are several types of compliance measures designed to secure specific industries and their customers. sd-wan and hybrid work

  • Healthcare organizations have HIPAA.
  • The financial industry has a FINRA license.
  • The Department of Defense and its suppliers have the NIST 800-171 mandate.

And those are only a few IT compliance requirements that organizations must consider when implementing or configuring technology.

SD-WAN creates encrypted tunnels between every site in the SD-WAN, making it much more difficult for a malicious actor to access your data in transit.

Even if you don’t have industry-mandated compliance requirements, SD-WAN (and other security solutions) can help you meet SOC 2 compliance – a voluntary compliance standard for service organizations.  As a result, you can easily obtain cyber insurance and even pay less for it.


SD-WAN Secures Your Network

Compliance requirements aside, implementing SD-WAN as a part of your network architecture can help secure your IT environment and prepare for the future.

Cybercrime has a growth rate of 15% year over year, and it is estimated that, worldwide, cybercrimes will cost $10.5 trillion annually by 2025.  Additionally, the average cost of a cyberattack is $1.07 million higher when remote work was a factor in causing the breach.

And these are only a few statistics experts have accumulated on the rise and impact of cybercrimes.

Business networks with a remote or hybrid workforce are especially vulnerable because of the broader attack surfaces.  Some common ways attackers penetrate at the network level include: sd-wan and hybrid work

  1. Unauthorized access can occur when hackers often obtain it through weak passwords, lacking protection against social engineering, or previously compromised accounts
  2. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks use botnets (large fleets of compromised devices) to direct false traffic at your network or services. When DDoS attacks occur at the network level, they can down a database by sending huge volumes of SYN/ACC packets and overwhelming servers or repeatedly performing SDL queries.
  3. Man-in-the-middle attacks involve malicious actors intercepting traffic either between your network and external sites or within your network. If successful, these attacks steal your data in transit and obtain user credentials.
  4. Privilege escalation allows hackers to expand their attack once they’ve penetrated your network. This could include access to additional, adjacent systems or a higher level of privileges for the same systems.

One of the most helpful ways to reduce these types of attacks or quickly identify (and subsequently eliminate) these threats is through SD-WAN, which gives you visibility into your network traffic and data encryption.

When you combine those with security inspection at the network edge, you’ll be significantly more resilient against an attack attempt at your network.

More importantly, cyber attacks aren’t going away; in fact, they continue to increase in number and monetary impact yearly. So, to support your remote or hybrid workforce, you need a long-term strategy that addresses security while providing visibility – which is what SD-WAN does.


SD-WAN Removes Other Costs

At this point, you should start to understand the case for implementing SD-WAN for your hybrid or remote workforce, but you may wonder how you can justify the expense associated with this technology.

By increasing your security posture, SD-WAN can prevent you from spending millions of dollars on a breach.

You can also resolve general networking issues faster thanks to the centralized policy management and visibility feature of SD-WAN.  So, if you’re struggling to staff network engineers, you may be able to fill a decent portion of the gap by implementing SD-WAN instead.

Finally, since SD-WAN solutions relieve pressures on the networks, including bandwidth constraints, bottlenecks, and latency, your users will encounter fewer network issues.  In turn, this results in increased productivity and better profits.


Considering SD-WAN for Your Network

The reality and prevalence of remote and hybrid workforces have changed how organizations must approach technology.

In this digital age, staying up to date with current technology has the potential to propel your business to success.

Regarding your IT network, SD-WAN is one component to consider as you embark on this goal.

For your hybrid or remote workforce, SD-WAN will help you meet compliance requirements, secure your data, and even reduce costs.

Want to know more about how SD-WAN can benefit your business?  Check out this free infographic on some of the most prominent use cases for this network architecture.  You can also learn more about the general benefits of SD-WAN in our article, “What is SD-WAN and Its Benefits?”

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